November 15, 2008
Garden and Florist Expo 2008 kicked it up a notch (or two) as it continues to showcase the best of the garden and floral industries.

Landscape Ontario, in partnership with Flowers Canada - Toronto Chapter, hosted the ninth edition of the fall buying show for the green and floral industries at the Toronto Congress Centre on October 21 and 22.

While attendance this year was down 3.8 per cent from 2007, the visitors who did attend were buying product. And that’s great news for the industry.

The first-ever wine and beer garden party at Garden Expo was a big hit. Held at the Doubletree Hotel, across from the Congress Centre, more than 200 people came out to the event sponsored by Greenstar Plant Products, Turf Revolution, Qualitree Propagators and Steam Whistle Brewery.

Booth award winners were Nincompoop Farms, winning the 200 square feet or less category, and Universal Rocks that won the trophy for over 200 square feet. The pre-show promotion winner was Fernlea Flowers.

Also announced were the winners of the Flowers Canada Toronto Chapter Gold Cup Awards. First place and the Gold Cup winner was Tina McQuaid, second place went to Heidi Oeschlager and Susan Sottile and Sandra Karser, and CAFA came in third. On hand to present the Gold Cup to McQuaid were Gary Gander, Pick Ontario, and Derrick Foss, Flowers Canada - Toronto Chapter.

Over 150 new or green products and new plant varieties were presented in the New Product Showcase this year. In a garden-like setting, with gazebos from Camilla House and containers from Apex Elegance, more than 600 buyers flocked to the showcase to get a glimpse of some “hot” new products including a series of custom-made TV programs for display in garden centres, aerated biodegradable flower pots and generic landscape plans that help homeowners solve specific problems.

Sponsors  included Sester Farms, for the show bags, Pick Ontario, for the floral stage and Gold Cup Floral Design Competition, Greenstar Plant Products, Turf Revolution, Qualitree Propagators and Steam Whistle Brewery for the wine and beer garden, Fafard for speaker Anne Obarski, and Agriculture and Agri-Food through Agricultural Adaptation Council’s CanAdvance Program for speaker Roy Prevost.

Awards of Excellence, Garden Centre program

One of the highlights at the show was the annual Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence which were handed out on October 20 at the Garden Centre Symposium and Interiorscape Conference luncheon. On hand to give out the awards were LO president Bob Adams and executive director Tony DiGiovanni. Denis Flangan acted as MC.

Outstanding Display of Plant Material

Deciduous Shrubs/Trees
    Angelo’s Garden Centre
    Canadale Nurseries
    Georgina Garden Centre

Annuals and/or Perennials
    Canadale Nurseries
    Pathways To Perennials

Outstanding Display of Goods

    Georgina Garden Centre

    Pathways To Perennials
    Canadale Nurseries

Merchandising Techniques

Outstanding Print Advertising
    Gardens To Go
    Sheridan Nurseries
    Humber Nurseries

Creative POP Area (Cash register or  immediate surrounding area)
    Canadale Nurseries

Outstanding Promotional Event
    Canadale Nurseries
    Cut and Dried Flower Farm
    Mori Gardens

Outstanding Web Site Development
    Ego’s Nurseries
    Georgina Garden Centre

Permanent Display Gardens

Under 500 square feet
    Mori Gardens

Over 500 square feet
    Pathways To Perennials

The next big show for Landscape Ontario is Congress, Canada’s 36th International Horticultural, Lawn and Garden Trade Show and Conference, January 6-8, 2009. Visit for more information.

It was a busy floor both days at Garden Expo

Some of the team responsible for the success of Garden Expo, from left, Congress Committee chairman Brian Lofgren with Garden and Florist Expo 2008 vice-chair, Beth Edney CLD; Greenstar representative Bill McGowan and show manager, Paul Day CDE.